Flat pricing can represent a win-win for customers and firms.
During a recent overseas trip, as soon as I stepped into a taxi, the driver offered to quote me a fixed price for travelling to my destination instead of using the meter. The driver clearly knew more than me about the route and the road conditions that day, and there was a good chance that this information asymmetry would allow him to profit by charging more than the expected cost of this trip. I was nevertheless drawn to the fixed price and accepted his offer. I suspected that many customers also prefer to pay a flat price. A survey that I conducted later confirmed that the preference for flat fares is pervasive. Yet this pricing approach is not as common as I believe it should be.
Flat pricing –paying a pre-agreed price no matter how much you consume – offers predictability and relief from the common meter-running annoyance. It eliminates the challenge of resisting staring at the taxi meter in spite of being fully aware that gazing at it will not make it move any slower nor make the ride any more pleasant. Consider how painful it would be to pay a per-minute fee for conversations with your lawyer, including the really bad joke he told you.
Another benefit of flat pricing is that once you’ve paid, you can think of everything you consume as “free.” Customers love the sense of receiving something for nothing. Unrestricted consumption adds to the appeal – liberty feels great.
The alternative to flat pricing, better known as usage-based pricing, is the meter-based pricing that taxis usually rely on, for example. With this common approach customers pay for what they consume – no more, no less. Utility companies typically charge by the unit, hospitals by the number of days you stay and the medical procedures involved, and lawyers and other professional service providers typically charge by the hour.
Listening is at the heart of helping. It should be considered your Home Base. When you are not sure what to say, first listen. Then, reflect back what you are hearing and as needed, ask questions.
Beginning coaches often rely too much on asking questions. So do more experienced coaches. I often tell practitioners we have two ears and one mouth. Therefore, we should be listening twice as much as we speak.
Many coaching traditions advocate for as much as 80% listening, especially in the initial sessions. The bottom line is to listen more and talk less. Many people think they are good listeners, but because we live in such a fast-paced world, it is easy to be a summarizer or a person who draws conclusions and diagnoses too quickly. Remember, this is not part of the coaching job description.
Because they are so passionate about serving their clients well, coaches can be easily distracted searching for the next question. A mistake of many new coaches is that they move to solution-finding too quickly. Again, coaching is never about “fixing” but we all have to check in with ourselves when that desire to “make it all better” and provide value for our clients shows up – and it will – from time to time.
Good listening is like slow cooking. That is the rhythm. What needs to be mastered is the Art of Active Listening. This means listening not only to what is being said, but to what is not being said. To listen between the lines… for the feelings, the unsaid thoughts, fears, and desires. This is the place from which the best questions will arise.
Although there are numerous key performance indicators (KPIs) that any CMO can use to measure social success, the following four are the most surefire for telling whether you're executing a successful social strategy:
Content engagement levels Consumer sentiment Consumer market insights Business impact on non-marketing departments Content Engagement
Content engagement is a great way to evaluate whether you are actually reaching consumers with the blogs, case studies, and bespoke branded content you are amplifying on social.
It's a noisy world, especially when trying to gain share of mind and voice on social media, and most people don't care about most of the content you or I, or anyone else, publishes. So one way to check the effectiveness of your content is by measuring social engagement.
Simply look back at historical data around previous engagement. Did you run content around a similar topic or scope last year? If so, you can do a comparative analysis between past and current content, measuring the number of shares, untagged mentions or links, and social interactions that occurred during both efforts.
Myth #1: Major donors NEVER give through the mail or online
Myth #2: Your best donors will FREAK OUT if you contact them multiple times within a few months
Myth #3: Social service organizations (especially those that feed/shelter the homeless) just don’t have REAL major donor supporters
What we’ve proven out over the last year is that the three myths above simply aren’t true.
Using a proven formula of integrated digital, phone, direct mail, and in some cases face-to-face touch points, focused on a thematic campaign supporting a very strong (and specific) offer in a short window of time (6-8 weeks), we’ve raised millions of dollars.
Here are some key results for your consideration:
Organization A: Goal was to raise $1 million in 8 weeks from a group of 2,500 donors who had given anywhere from $250 – $10,000. The campaign delivered a 27% response rate, a $452 average gift, and $972,000 in revenue at a 14:1 ROI. This included 71 gifts of $1,000, 8 gifts of $5,000, and one gift each of $10,000, $15,000, $25,000, and $85,000.
Organization B: Goal was to raise over $400,000 in 8 weeks from a group of 1,900 donors who had given anywhere from $250 – $9,999. The campaign delivered a 24% response rate, a $300 average gift, and $388,000 in revenue at a 6:1 ROI. This included 30 gifts of $1,000, 13 gifts of $2,000 – $3,500, and one gift each of $5,000, $6,000, $23,000, and $50,000.
Organization C: Goal was to raise $500,000 in 6 weeks from a group of 2,300 active and lapsed donors who had given anywhere from $250 – $10,000. Some donors hadn’t given to this organization in more than four years. The campaign delivered a 58% response rate, an average gift over $700, and more than $1.3 million in revenue at a 12:1 ROI. This included multiple five and six-figure gifts.
Each of these organizations are local-based social service organizations. And in each case, at least one of the myths listed above had been surfaced (in some, all three were concerns). What our campaigns proved out is that social service organizations do in fact have the kind of donors who can make significant contributions. We were also able to prove out that major donors do, in fact, give through the mail, email, and via phone — if they’re presented with a strong and compelling offer. And lastly, I can tell you that multiple, coordinated touch points in a short period of time did not produce complaints from any of these three audiences.
When it comes to running an online business, a CEO usually has the final say on what happens and where the future of the company might be headed. One area that every CEO and entrepreneur need to be focusing more effort on, is in the department of business and marketing automation.
The reasons and benefits of marketing automation should be clear to nearly anyone in business, but even more so now that the internet is generating the majority of leads, sales and revenue for most businesses in the world today. With more competition online, that simply means more costs and focus needs to be spent in this area as well… unless you have automation working for you.
As someone who’s been active in the world of online marketing for 20 years now, I’ve personally experienced the days of dial-up, basic HTML websites and an online world without the concept of social media. To think of the internet two decades ago versus what it is today… it’s quite amazing.
I recently had the opportunity to connect with Simon Grabowski, CEO of GetResponse.com, who has also had his fair share of experience in the world of online marketing. To main focus of this discussion was on the concept of marketing automation and how it’s changing the way business is done online.
Since we both started online in the mid-90s, I thought that would be a perfect place for us to start our discussion… looking back at how simple thing used to be, yet quite tedious and slow in the process.
Passion may hurt you more than help you in your next argument. That’s a conclusion of new research into persuasion by a pair of university academics and reported by Shankar Vedantam of NPR. Passion, often highly prized by leaders, may actually work against that leader if he or she is trying to reach out to someone who may not agree with them. This new research into persuasion really is confirmation of what all good leaders do when seeking consensus; they first seek to understand what the other is thinking and why they are thinking it. To become more persuasive consider these three questions: How does the other person see the world? This question addresses the other person’s value system. How can I frame my argument in terms my opposite understands? Relate your values to the others. When you scratch the surface many people can agree on what is good for others – love, security, opportunity and integrity. How can we find common ground? Know what you know about the other person you have a foundation upon which to build your argument. Focus on the values the other person holds and relate them to values you hold.
Empathy can be a transformative tool for deconstructing unconscious biases and building understanding between people of different backgrounds. Typically, empathy is defined as "walking a mile in someone else's shoes". But this may not actually be the most helpful frame for thinking about empathy, particularly as we use empathy to bridge the biases among people from different backgrounds in the workplace. The reality is that many individuals have singular experiences in the workplace, and people from underrepresented backgrounds may have particularly challenging experiences that others may not fully be able to understand. We cannot simply ask ourselves how we would act in someone else's situation because we may not perceive that situation the same way. Emotions, however, are universal and therefore provide much clearer lens for understanding someone else's experience. To empathically connect with someone, we must identify how someone feels in a particular situation and use that emotion as an entry point for mutual understanding.
Respondents were 1.3 times more likely to interact with celebrity content on Instagram than on Facebook. Millennials are more likely to seek out video content than older generations. They are also more likely to follow accounts related to fashion, beauty, interior design and people they don’t know personally on Instagram than on Facebook. 51 percent of male respondents said Facebook helps them organize their lives, and 47 percent said the same for Instagram, but women are more likely to say they use both social networks to connect with others. When major events occur, respondents turn to Facebook for reactions and opinions, and to Instagram for behind-the-scenes content. Respondents said both platforms “fulfill their need for fun and discovery,” but fun was defined as encountering the unexpected on Instagram, and as humor on Facebook.
Raising Expectations Doesn’t Mean Pressurizing People
Setting high expectation means providing clarity of purpose, helping people find meaning of their work, helping them see what success looks like and then helping them along the way. It is a common misconception that the only way to raise expectations is to put undue pressure on people. Pressure can help people perform, but only till a certain point beyond which it results in a burnout. In a creative world of work, people step up when they know the difference their effort can make. It is a leader’s job to enable the ecosystem of conversation, clarity and collaboration.
To Believe that People Can Do Better
When you raise expectations, people will falter. The key is to have a belief that people can do better. It is easy to give up on someone and blame their limitations. It is incredibly hard to handhold, believe, enable and help.
Know Where to Raise Expectations
To be able to set the expectations higher, a leader has to have a deep understanding of the work people do. As a leader, if you don’t understand the nuances of how work is done, you will never be able to raise the bar for others. Leader also needs ability to decide when to focus on details (activities, task, operational aspects) and when to see a broad picture (values, behaviors, methods, results etc).
Know what is valuable to you, and align your life and leadership accordingly: If you don’t know what you value, take a values assessment to get some ideas. The hard part is to stay intentional about aligning your life with what’s most important – use reminders or surround yourself with people who can give you feedback and help you stay true to what you value.
Don’t let what goes on in your daily environment impact you negatively: Learning to let go of annoyances and toxic people might make a big difference in your happiness level. It’s not always easy, but keeping what happens in perspective (“it’s not the end of the world”) can sometimes help.
Be grateful: There is lots of information and research to show that gratefulness is a big part of learning to be happy. I can personally attest to my gratitude journal making a big difference in my happiness quotient. I notice a difference in my attitude when I neglect to journal daily about what I’m grateful for.
Tips for Giving Useful Feedback 1. Be descriptive, not evaluative. Judgmental words, like selfish and insensitive, make people defensive, and it is difficult for them to hear what you are saying. When you simply describe what happened, without evaluating, it creates space for them to come to their own conclusions. Even when someone does something well, it is much more helpful to be descriptive about what they did than to say they were good, great, or terrific. Tell them what they did that was terrific so they know what to repeat. 2. Be specific. Telling someone they are “dominating” is not as useful as saying, “You ignored my comments and interrupted me several times. I was frustrated because I felt like I either needed to confront you or be silent, and I didn’t want to do either.” Dominating can be confusing because it means different things to people. A clear, specific description of what occurred provides a basis for an open discussion. 3. Describe your own reactions. Don’t speak for others. You might share what you have heard or observed from others if you are willing to name the individuals. But it is a slippery slope when you speak for others. Be careful about attributing to a group of people. You might be wrong. What you know for sure are your own reactions, and you are most effective when you focus on that.
The arrival of the Internet began major disruption to decades old methods of consumer packaged goods (CPG) distribution. The tried and true method of manufactures selling to a collection of wholesalers, who then sold the product on a range of retailers began to be reexamined. We saw the arrival of online retailers like Amazon who sought to compete with brick and mortar retailers, trying to offer a wider selection while also offering potentially a more convenient (and possibly cheaper) shopping experience for a few (or possibly for many). We saw retailers experiment with selling on Amazon (adding an extra layer of intermediation) and grocery stores experiment with online ordering and local delivery. But at the same, in 2010 we saw manufacturers like P&G start to experiment with selling direct to consumer over the Internet via sites like pgshop.com and then in 2013 P&G started selling their wares on Amazon. Below is a screenshot of a Pampers product listing on Amazon:
The recreational cannabis industry holds lessons for building brands in an industry with negative associations.
A recent article in Lift, a cannabis news magazine, entitled “Cannabis Brand Wars” shed some light on the challenges of building a brand in a stigmatised or “underground” product category such as recreational cannabis. While recreational cannabis use may have become legal in several U.S. states (e.g. Colorado and Washington), and Canada may be considering the legalisation of recreational cannabis use, the product still carries negative associations and the image of recreational cannabis users is negative.
As such, building successful mainstream brands in this category and indeed moving the whole category mainstream poses special challenges.
This reminded me of parallels with the country-of-origin effect and a case I wrote several years ago on building the LG brand in the U.S. – the parallel between the cannabis industry and the LG brand at the time of its introduction in the U.S. in 2002 is that both are victims of negative stereotyping – Korean products were broadly perceived as second rate in the U.S. at the time, and LG, as a Korean brand, had to overcome this,
There are two truths about major gifts, and if they are embraced, you will be successful: Leadership has to welcome participating fully in major gift fundraising. This means the CEO, executive director, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief technology officer—whatever C you have in your organization—as well as the board. You, as the head of development or major gifts, have to lead them. Richard and I have sat with development directors across the country, listening to them lament about how their CEOs don’t like to ask for money or even want to talk to donors. They tell us how there is no culture of philanthropy; all the responsibility is on them to raise money from major donors. On the flip side, we also have sat across the table from many CEOs who are so frustrated with their development teams because “They don’t use me enough in talking to donors.” Or, “I just wish they would tell me what I have to do because I’m too busy to worry about this everyday.” Both of these types of problems really require the development director to take two courses of action: leadership and action.
You’ve figured by now that being a great boss is less about what you do than how you cultivate a working environment that you can step back from without it falling apart. The final point to remember for now, then, is how to nurture this environment while moving forward. There will never become a moment when you are the perfect boss: all you can be is the best boss for a particular scenario at a particular time. But all of the factors within that scenario are constantly changing, not least of all yourself. Your own skills, ambitions, even your disposition will fluctuate and develop over the months and years, and you must adapt with this as much as with changes of staff or of business climate. Constantly strive for improvement, for self-knowledge, and for innovation – and know when to grip on to these, and when to let them pass. Be sure to communicate these changes, however indirectly, with your team, and watch also for the way that they develop. An employee who’s excelling at one moment may feel under-challenged by the same work within a few months, or undervalued if they are taken for granted. Listen carefully to their needs, whether they’re stating them openly or it is implicit in their behavior and in the work that they do. Ensure that you give them regular feedback on their good work and on problem areas, but always keep it constructive and keep that dialogue open. Your employees will respond to being praised not only as individuals, but as a team: the feeling of collective accomplishment can help the team to bond and to work even better together in the future – and that collective includes you. You job is not to instruct, but to develop that ethic.
Empathy can be a transformative tool for deconstructing unconscious biases and building understanding between people of different backgrounds. Typically, empathy is defined as "walking a mile in someone else's shoes". But this may not actually be the most helpful frame for thinking about empathy, particularly as we use empathy to bridge the biases among people from different backgrounds in the workplace. The reality is that many individuals have singular experiences in the workplace, and people from underrepresented backgrounds may have particularly challenging experiences that others may not fully be able to understand. We cannot simply ask ourselves how we would act in someone else's situation because we may not perceive that situation the same way. Emotions, however, are universal and therefore provide much clearer lens for understanding someone else's experience. To empathically connect with someone, we must identify how someone feels in a particular situation and use that emotion as an entry point for mutual understanding. Real empathy is about matching emotion, not situation.
You feel like you spend the whole day in meetings: one-on-one sessions, team meetings, large-group conferences. So it seems you’re always in front of the people who work for you. But if you analyze who you spend time with, you’d realize that you’re visible to only a small percentage of employees. And the larger and more spread out your organization is, the greater the likelihood that many employees rarely see you.
What to do differently: You need a communication plan designed to provide maximum visibility, given your time available. The best practice is to schedule a mix of:
An all-hands or town hall meeting at least once a quarter Briefings with managers several times a year Informal sessions (you can call them “coffee chats”) with small groups of employees at least six times a year. These chats are more about hearing from staff members than delivering a message.
Customer acquisition platform Fluent released the results of a new survey that analyzed the smartphone and social media use habits of 1,769 millennials (aged 18 through 34) and 1,191 non-millennials (35 and older).
The survey found that millennials spend the greatest portion of their “online time” on their smartphones, as 24 percent of millennial smartphone owners said “nearly all” of their online time is spent on their smartphones and 27 percent said “most” of their online time is spent on their smartphones.
Practice “Full Spectrum” management, where high performers get the recognition they deserve, AND underperformers either get coached or let go. Teach instead of just tell, by using repetition, consistency, plain English, common sense, and best of all, rolling up the sleeves and showing them how it’s done. Be an Enabler, not a Disabler, because if we can’t entrust someone with proper responsibilities commensurate with the job description, we simply shouldn’t hire them. Develop a Zen-like mantra of goals that permeate the minds of all your teammates, and watch great stuff happen. Avoid inertia at all costs – or risk heading in the wrong direction. Provide the needed acceleration to propel a business forward, always. Trust the facts, for if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. As John Adams said, they are indeed “stubborn things”. Understand that words alone don’t make the leader– proper presentation, attitude, inflection, cadence and structure are musts to inspire to action. Exhibit a blend of will and humility – we push hard knowing we don’t have all the answers, with a sense of decency, fairness and mindfulness. Know “the secret of work” for their team – the passion, the cause, and the fun that results. Be able to mix it up and do the unexpected, like break out in song at a staff meeting. Put in a memorable hook to go with your message.
Are you truly using this as an opportunity to make a difference? Are you speaking up to challenge the thinking about an issue or decision and provoke constructive conversation, or are you just aiming to prove your point? If you are authentically interested in other points of view on the subject, open to learning and perhaps even changing your mind about the subject at hand, chances are your challenge will make a difference for everyone involved.
If, however, you think you are right, feel the need for others to agree with you, and/or will only be satisfied with your thinking being validated, proceed with caution.
After all, if you are right, there is only one outcome for the listener possible — to be wrong. If your intent in speaking up is to call someone out on something such as bad behavior then this may be the way to go. But if your intent is to cause productive dialogue you may have work to do before you are ready to speak up to make the desired impact.
If it’s an idea or possibility, are you looking for approval, do you want honest feedback, or are you perhaps ready and willing to take a stand intending that others follow your lead?
The key is to first make sure you are clear about your intention and purpose for speaking up. Only then can you prepare for how to best proceed.
Saqib Shaikh lives is blind, lives in London, and is a core Microsoft developer. He lost the use of his eyes at age 7. Saqib found inspiration in software development and is helping build Seeing AI, a research project helping blind or visually impaired people to better understand who and what is around them. The app is built using intelligence APIs from Microsoft Cognitive Services. Pretty amazing that an app can use a camera to capture an image or a video feed, and using artificial intelligence, to analyze the scene and vocalize to the user what it sees. In this example this is being done for the benefit of a human user, but imagine what could be possible if one computer program is used to serve instead, another computer program as the user of the analysis. What might that make possible? How might you or your organization make use of technology like this?
“A decline in the percentage of unemployed and underemployed Americans may have some influence on the percentage of engaged workers. As the job market for skilled employees becomes more competitive, it is possible that companies are putting more effort into engaging their current workers.” At best, this conclusion feels like a major s-t-r-e-t-c-h of correlation analysis results.
This same organization believes that “Employee engagement is a leading indicator of future business success….”; and, to the degree that engagement level can impact staff turnover and productivity, both key contributors to profitability, this is a fair statement. However, when this organization, and others in the employee engagement research, training and consultation space, makes claims that engagement, in and of itself, contributes to customer value and loyalty behavior, two important questions need to be asked. Those question are: 1) Really? and, 2) Where’s the consistent proof for individual companies?
Whenever encountering white papers that conflate the connection between employee engagement and happy customers, the above questions need to be asked. Further, there is no specific connection to the emotional drivers of employee experience. Emotions, understood on an accepted negative to positive hierarchy (see below), are critical to understanding experience and behavior
Sharing your scoops to your social media accounts is a must to distribute your curated content. Not only will it drive traffic and leads through your content, but it will help show your expertise with your followers.
How to integrate my topics' content to my website?
Integrating your curated content to your website or blog will allow you to increase your website visitors’ engagement, boost SEO and acquire new visitors. By redirecting your social media traffic to your website, Scoop.it will also help you generate more qualified traffic and leads from your curation work.
Distributing your curated content through a newsletter is a great way to nurture and engage your email subscribers will developing your traffic and visibility.
Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.